ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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Fair Helps Hispanic Parents Navigate Education System

Edith Zuniga and her 5-year-old son Sergio peered at mauve seashells through magnifying glasses. The Zunigas took part Saturday in Austin's third annual <em>Feria Para Aprender</em>, a "festival of learning" that offers resources to Spanish-speaking parents who want to help their children excel in school. The event drew 7,700 people to Burger Center in Southwest Austin, and featured more than 75 exhibits from colleges, scholarship organizations, and nonprofits.

High School and Beyond

Andreana Rivera-Thomas is ready for her next big step. With her teachers' and counselors' help, she has pored over school profiles, honed her essays, and endured rounds of mock interviews. She survived the entrance exams and grillings by admissions officers. Pretty heavy stuff for an 8th grader from a poor neighborhood. But that's what it takes to get into a top-notch high school, and it's par for the course at Andreana's anything-but-typical middle school.

Overhaul of Bilingual Education System Delayed

A federal appeals court has delayed an overhaul of bilingual and English-as-a-second-language programs in Texas schools. Last year, U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice had ruled that Texas schools had failed middle and high school students with limited English. He ordered Texas to submit proposals for a new way of tracking and educating those students by Jan. 31. But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, responding to a requested delay from the state, recently ruled that "a wide variety of concerns including funding, personnel changes and legislative authority" must be addressed first.

Language Barrier Blocks Many Latino Students from Graduating, Study Shows

Latino students outnumbered black students in 2007 for the first time in Illinois, placing new demands on schools already struggling to raise test scores and graduation rates, according to a new study. Students who have trouble speaking English have only a 57.2 percent graduation rate, according to the annual "Kids Count" report from Voices for Illinois Children. At the same time, Illinois faces a shortage of bilingual teachers.

Duncan: 'Educate Our Way to a Better Economy'

This week, the new secretary of education, Arne Duncan, visited a charter school in Washington, D.C., with the president and first lady. More school visits are in Duncan's future, but his focus now is on the economic stimulus package — and the $140 billion currently slated for schools. Duncan knows that some of that money could be whittled back, so he's trying to get the message out that Americans must "educate our way to a better economy."

America's Immigrants Split by Education Levels

America's foreign-born population is highly fragmented along educational lines, with a large portion of immigrants possessing relatively low levels of education while sizable elite have attained advanced degrees, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Immigrant Parents Push to Protect English Classes

Each year, the Washington, DC suburb of Fairfax County in Virginia classrooms serve more than 20,000 students who are learning English as a second language. They also serve many of their parents. More than 8,000 foreign-born adults enroll in classes annually through the county's adult and community education program. But as the School Board seeks to close a $250 million budget gap, funding for the adult English classes could be trimmed and the course fee could increase, potentially by a few hundred dollars a class. Dozens of students born in China, Nicaragua, Italy and other corners of the world attended a public hearing last month to urge the School Board to maintain the funding that keeps the classes affordable to new immigrants.

Schools' Efforts for Bilingual Students Questioned

Opinions clashed over the value of Chicago Public Schools efforts to alleviate discriminatory effects on students who are learning to speak English at a recent hearing, with federal court supervision of the system hanging in the balance. The school system entered into a consent decree in 1980 under which city schools have been required to demonstrate to the court that they are not discriminating against Hispanic and black children. Tuesday was the fourth day of hearings before U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kocoras in the system's efforts to end that decree.

High School Tutors Aid Younger Learners

When third-grader Devon Aldana stumbled over a word, Ray Caras urged him to sound it out. Caras, a 10th-grader at Nebraska's Columbus High School, is among 15 high school students who are helping tutor elementary students in reading. Through the Learning Together program started this semester, the students are meeting twice a week at the elementary school. A unique part to the program is that both the elementary and high school participants are English language learners and are reading below their grade levels.

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